fredag 23. desember 2016

What is the church of the living God?

Yesterday, I quoted Paul’s reason for his high expectations concerning the lifestyle of the leaders of the church:
I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
1 Tim 3:15
In this verse Paul uses several images to illustrate the nature of a church
  • The house of God
It strange how easy it is to associate the house of God with a physical building. I admit that a physical place to gather for worship can be useful for the church, but the core of the New Covenant is that the house of God, the Tabernacle of the Lord or the temple of the Spirit, is found where follower of Christ is found. Therefore, I always find myself in God’s household wherever I am on the planet.
  • The foundation of truth
Paul used the image of a building and a temple in a letter to the church in Corinth. Also there he refers to the foundation, like he did in the letter to Timothy:
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1 Cor 3:10-11
It is interesting that he wrote that foundation is Jesus Christ in this letter, while ‘the church of God’ is the foundation of truth in the letter he wrote to Timothy. I cannot see any contradiction in this. Because, if the church is Jesus in the world today, the church should also convey the truth in our time. But the church is not only the foundation of truth, it is also
  • The pillar of truth
The function of a pillar is to support. I like the idea of the church being a support of truth. But in addition, pillars are often made beautiful because of their visibility. This was definitely true at time when Paul wrote this. The church should be ‘beautiful’ to make the truth even more visible. Remember that I still write about the church of the living God, not about a physical church-building. The challenge in our time is that the church tends to obscure the truth. If the truth is obscured by the church, it must be legitimate to ask whether it is still a church of the living God.

‘Manna’ for today:
The church of the living God is nothing less than a miracle!

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